Friday, October 25, 2013

Open Channel

At this point in my experience, I'm working on peeling back layers of fear and doubt that often cloud the way I see myself and the world around me. When I feel each layer rise, I feel more space open up inside me. I feel less bound, more free.

I'm finding that it's through listening, creating a space from which to hear more fully to more and more of what's happening inside me, that I am best able to recognize fear or doubt coloring the way I see things.

I don't think you can ever listen to yourself too much.  You can listen to your desires, your pain, your fear, or even your happiness too much, but if you are truly listening to yourself, the base from which those emotions flow from, you will always have something that if you truly listen to it, will help you grow.  It is through listening, not talking, that wisdom flows.  Wisdom is timeless and exists within the foundation of all life but you can only speak from a place of wisdom if you can hear it in the first place.

Listening to yourself is like growing a fruit-bearing tree.  Knowing comes from understanding, Sometimes we place too much emphasis on what we know with our minds.  Sometimes we do this with our hearts.  Wisdom comes from listening from a place of balance.  This happens when what you understand through the capacities in which you have to experience the life within and around you (e.g. what you hear, see and feel) are in sync with your experience at the fundamental level of your existence.  Your fundamental self, or as a mentor of mine likes to say, and now, as I like to say, your essential self, is not what you hear, see and feel.

How you experience what's going on inside your and what's happening in the world around you inform you but do not create you.  

"Who am I" is one of the biggest and most difficult questions for
many of us to answer.  I think it's so difficult, because whatever we say, changes.  We cannot put a stick in the ground ans say this is who I am, now and forever.  Experience continually shapes who we are, and because of this, a fixed identity is impossible.  Our faces, the very thing most of us first identify another with, is constantly changing.  As infants, we grow into our bodies, to only, at the first moment past the height of our physical primacy, start to deteriorate. We can enjoy the same things for our whole lives, but even how we enjoy things changes.  For many of us, even our names change throughout our lives.

The self is a moving target.  It doesn't exist in a way that is resolutely definable except in this present moment, which just passed.

This is one of the reasons why you can never listen to yourself too much, and which is why listening is like a fruit-bearing tree.  If you listen, you find seeds that carry in them truths about your experience - your basic experience before any lens of fear, doubt or anything else tries to cloud it.  If you nurture these seeds through an open mind and an open heart, they can grow into wisdom, which is one way you can cultivate experience to grow wisdom.

Even though there really is no self, we live in a world where it's easy to judge, criticize and beat ourselves up because of what we think, say or do.  We are scared.  Of ourselves and each other.  We want to have an answer, we want to know, something to cling on to amid the fear and pain within us and around us.

But, many of the ways in which many of us are trying to know are only taking us farther away from truly knowing and discovering the wisdom we seek to calm our fears.  Instead of trying to find balance in what we see, hear and feel - which requires that we face our fears - we stand, closing our spiritual selves to experience, trying to push our physical selves forward as our dominant selves. Placing our identity in how we think, see or feel.  Instead of our essential selves, which isn't based in the human experience, only informed by it.

If we give our head too much power, we plow through life not easily able to hear other peoples perspective. Believing ours is the right one, not seeing that the reason we are so headstrong in being right is because we need to hear it most ourselves.  If we give our heart too much power, we shy away from reason, fearing it will imprison our spirits, causing immense emotional pain.  In both situations, we are terribly polarized and entirely unbalanced.

A few weekends ago, I recognized a part of my heart that was doing this.  It had been frozen in pain for so long that I hid it away and never let any experience get close to touching it.  I was only able to see and feel it now because I've been working on facing pain in my heart for a while now, since the birth of my son who helped me to love and be loved in ways I'd forgotten I could.

It took me five years since opening my heart in that way to fully admit that I was molested as a child by more than one person.  It took some time to really see, really hear, really feel and not dissociate or lost myself in pain.   And that hurt.  It still does.  But to get through pain, you have to feel it.  And you don't get to decide for how long.  If we did, we'd never be heartbroken.

It's been a process and now, I'm deeper.  I'm better.  But, I'm not "all healed." I'm not sure we fully heal from anything, if fully healed means it's all gone.  Just like when someone you love dies, you never return to how you felt before they died.  You "move on" and in some ways, I've moved deeper from that initial urge to disassociate and face it.  It was really hard at first and sometimes still is.  I have been scared that I'd lost myself.  But in facing the different parts of what happened, I never have truly lost myself.  I only lost myself, when I ran away.  Now, I see myself.  I hear myself.  I listen to myself.

It's like an open channel.  It's freeing.  Like open arms, sometimes.  Light.  And sometimes darkness. But they are not pitted against one another like they used to be in my head.  Where there is light, there are shadows.  But in a beautiful way the light creates the shadow and the shadow defines the light.  They work together to exist and in understanding my experiences through this channel, I can practice balancing the information I gain from my eyes, my ears and my heart to learn from the light and the darkness.

And that's the thing, like fruit, wisdom doesn't just grow in the light.  It is in the cycle of life experienced in both day and night that fruit, wisdom and life grows.

In darkness, we face fear.  And through choosing to listen to the fear from a place of balance, we are given the opportunity to grow.  In light.  In darkness.  In listening.  We are learning.  To grow.

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